Epidural abscess causing tetraparesis: case report


A case is presented of a 26-year-old male with a 8-day history of fever and back pain, and limb weakness beginning 24 hours before admission. An abscess caused by a staphylococcus aureus was localised in the thoracic paravertebral region with penetration in the subarachnoidal space at T1. Myelography appeared to be superior to CAT-scan and NMRI of the cervico-thoracal region in supporting the diagnosis. Treatment by laminectomy of C7-T3 48 hours after admission did not lead to neurological improvement and an incomplete tetraplegia persisted. The importance and difficulty of early diagnosis is stressed.


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Correspondence to R Chappel.

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Chappel, R., Verhelst, J., Nagler, J. et al. Epidural abscess causing tetraparesis: case report. Spinal Cord 24, 364–369 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1038/sc.1986.54

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  • Spinal epidural abscess
  • CAT-scan
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI)
  • Myelography

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